NPR’s ombudsman to discuss Katrina journalism coverage

Washington State University’s Northwest Public Radio will welcome National Public Radio Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin to campus Nov. 3 when he will discuss the journalism coverage surrounding Hurricane Katrina.

“American Journalism Pre- and Post-Katrina” will be the topic of Dvorkin’s presentation, set for 7:30 p.m. in the Murrow Addition Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. He is also scheduled to visit WSU and University of Idaho classrooms earlier in the day.

As ombudsman, Dvorkin is the public’s representative to National Public Radio, serving as an independent source of information, explanation, amplification and analysis for the public regarding NPR’s programming. His duties include receiving, investigating, and responding to queries from the public regarding editorial standards in programming.

He also writes an Internet column for NPR ( and presents his views on journalistic issues on NPR programs. While some United States newspapers have had ombudsmen since the 1960s, it is rare for U.S. broadcast media to appoint an ombudsman.

“Establishing an Ombudsman post underscores public radio’s continued commitment to the highest standards of editorial integrity and provides listeners with a direct link to NPR,” said Kevin Klose, president and chief executive officer of NPR. “Jeffrey’s distinguished career in broadcast journalism spans nearly three decades and makes him uniquely qualified to fill this important new role, which extends the public service mission of NPR.”

Before his appointment as ombudsman in February 2000, Dvorkin served as NPR’s vice president for news and information from 1997 to 2000. As vice president, he was responsible for upholding NPR’s editorial standards and ensuring the excellence of news and information programming.

Prior to his tenure at NPR, Dvorkin served as chief journalist and managing editor for CBC Radio News and Information, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He acted as CBC’s representative on matters of journalistic policy for listeners and viewers, advocacy groups and government agencies. He was responsible for all radio network newscasts, as well as current affairs and information programs, for the English CBC Radio networks.

Dvorkin’s background includes special assignments for arts journalism and consultant work with journalism groups in Slovenia, Hungary and Poland. He was a senior writer and editor for National TV News in Toronto and was a producer for the National TV News Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. He began his professional career as a subeditor for CBS News in London.

Dvorkin graduated from the University of Alberta with bachelor’s degrees in European history and French literature. He earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in philosophy from the London School of Economics at the University of London.

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